Navy demonstrates how unmanned system can keep Naval Station Norfolk safe

Posted at 12:49 PM, Feb 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-12 17:16:05-05

NORFOLK, Va. – The Navy is demonstrating how unmanned technology can help stop threats to local bases, keeping Sailors safe at home.

Navy installations across Hampton Roads have been taking part in Exercise Citadel Shield-Solid Curtain since the beginning of the month.

The security exercise, which is not in response to any specific threat, is designed to enhance the readiness of security forces and make sure installations remain safe.

At Naval Station Norfolk Wednesday, they practiced how to keep the base safe from water-based threats.

Naval Station Norfolk Navy security forces partnered with the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Virginia, to deploy the Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle.

"It will go out there and be one of the tools as a harbor security boat. It may be able to have longer on-station time, may be able to operate in environments where a manned vehicle cannot, or at least cannot without putting itself at undue risk," Captain Monty Ashliman, Director of Operations for Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, told News 3 anchor Todd Corillo.

In a scenario News 3 observed Wednesday, shore security forces used the unmanned system to intercept a manned craft entering prohibited Navy waters.

"Before assets are at risk, before personnel are at risk. It gives you time for decision making so ultimately the commander - whether that’s the commander of the security force or the commander of the installation - they can make those decisions on whether it is a threat or it’s not a threat," Captain Ashliman explained.

Related: Speeding through the water to save lives: E.M.I.L.Y water robot, sonar being tested by Norfolk Fire-Rescue

Right now, the Navy is testing out the unmanned system and says information from the evolution will help inform and guide decisions about its use in the future.

The Navy-wide security exercises continue through the end of the week.